How Can a Locksmith Open a Safe Without a Combination?

There are multiple ways in which a locksmith can open a safe for you if you lost or don’t know the lock combination. While television shows often show someone using a cutting torch to break into a safe, this is actually the worst method of accessing a locked safe, as the heat could damage valuable items inside. When you need a safe cracked, it’s best to not even attempt to do it yourself – call a professional locksmith who knows what he’s doing.

Retrieving the Manufacturer Combination

The simplest method for cracking a standard-size fire safe that has never had the factory combination changed is to simply call the manufacturer. The manufacturer will be able to tell the locksmith what the original factory combination was, and from there the safe can be opened.

Picking or Drilling the Lock

If the original combination has been changed, then the technician will likely need to drill a small hole on the side of the tumbler, which can later be soldered. From there the safe tumbler and combination will be changed. Likewise, if the safe has a keyed lock, then the lock can be picked or drilled and easily replaced.

Safe Manipulation

Safe manipulation takes some skill, as it entails discovering the safe combination through touch or sound. Many safe locks give a very discreet sound or physical resistance when the safe wheel is dialed a certain way. This is due to manufacturing differences. Intimate knowledge of the lock being manipulated – and a lot of patience and experience – is required in order to crack a safe using this method. Stethoscopes are often used to amplify the sounds the safe makes during this process, as is commonly shown in movies.

Scoping the Safe

Scoping a safe is another method which takes a lot of skill, patience, and experience, as it requires the drilling of a hole and insertion of an expensive specialized borescope to get a close look at a specific part of the security container. Scoping the safe is the most practical option for safes that have manipulation-proof mechanical locks or glass re-lockers as security measures.

“Scoping the change key hole,” as one method is referred to, requires a technician to drill a small hole and insert his scope into the hole so he can get a close look at the change key hole, as looking through the change key hole as the safe-dial is spinning allows the technician to observe certain landmarks on the combination wheel, enabling the technician to recover the combination and open the safe normally.

If you lost the combination to your safe or have acquired a safe that you don’t know the combination to (such as from a storage unit purchase or estate sale,) call local owned SK Locksmith and use his expertise to open the safe for you. 832-777-7010 24/7

How Does a Locksmith Pick a Lock?

Most people will need to have a lock picked at some time or other, whether it’s due to losing keys to the front door, coming home to find your deadbolt jammed, because you’ve forgotten or lost the combination to your safe. Professional locksmiths are skilled and experienced at picking a variety of locks, including home and business locks and safe locks.

Lock picking technicians use an assortment of tools to help them get their job done without damaging the lock itself, which is important in cases where the lock is an antique and irreplaceable, or for rekeying purposes. A locksmith must have intimate knowledge of the different types of locks he picks in order to be successful at lock picking, and this requires the use of different tools.

How Do Locks Work?

Most common lock tumblers work by employing pairs of pins in the plug, which, with the use of springs, move up and down within the plug depending on whether the pins are at rest or locked into place. Keys are cut specifically to bump the pins into position so the lock can open. When the specific key is not available, getting the lock open requires the assistance of a professional.

Tools a Lock Picker UsesLock picking tools

The following are some of the tools that a locksmith might use to help you gain access to your home, business, or safe that you may have been locked out of:

• Torsion or Tension Wrench – This tool is used to apply torque to the lock’s plug in order to hold picked pins into place; once the pins have successfully been picked, the torsion or tension wrench is used to turn the plug, which opens the lock. A tension wrench is typically shaped like the letter “L” but with the vertical part of the letter elongated as opposed to the horizontal part.

• Half-Diamond Pick – The half-diamond pick is a versatile tool that can be used to pick individual pins or for raking. It can also be used for wafer and disk locks.

• Hook Pick – The hook pick is similar to the half-diamond pick, except it has a hook shape on the end rather than a half-diamond shape. The hook pick is the most basic tool and is typically all a locksmith will need for traditional locks. The hook pick comes in a variety of sizes, and it cannot be used for raking

• Ball Pick – The ball pick is also similar to the half-diamond pick, except it has a half- or full-circle shape on the end. It is used to pick wafer locks.

• Rake Pick – Rake picks are used to rake pins by quickly sliding the rake past all the pins repeatedly and bouncing them until they reach the shear line, which allows the lock to open. This method is usually used on cheaper locks.

• Pick Guns – There are two types of pick guns: manual and electronic. Both types are a popular method of lock-picking. Higher-end electric pick guns are typically made of hard steel and aircraft aluminum. The pick can be operated by pushing a button that causes the tool to vibrate while a tension wrench is in use.

A manual pick gun, or snap gun, works in a similar way but has a trigger that causes movement which transfers sudden energy to the key pins, causing them to jump and allowing the cylinder to turn for a moment until the keys return to their locking position. A pick gun is used with a tension wrench.

Next time you find yourself locked out of your home or business or discover you can’t get into your safe, call a local professional locksmith like SK Locksmith. They have the proper tools, knowledge and experience to successfully pick your locks for you without causing damage to the lock.

Keeping Track of Your House Keys is Part of Personal Security

In this day and age, modern technology has made it easier than ever to make copies of your house keys. Online locksmiths and cell phone apps enable you to have copies of your keys delivered to you with only the simple snap of the camera.

However, while making copies of your keys has never been easier, these new methods bring up questions of safety for homeowners. After all, if you can easily make copies of your keys using your cell phone camera, then what’s stopping other people from doing the same thing – and having complete access to your home?

There are a number of situations which warrant you to leave your keys out of your sight: valet services, oil changing businesses and full-service carwashes often require you handing your keys over to a stranger. The reality is, copies of your keys can be ordered online in a matter of seconds with the current technology available. How do you know that the carwash attendant isn’t making copies of your keys using cyber locksmith technology while you’re innocently waiting for your car?

Worse yet, what if you misplace your keys at work, leave them lying on your desk, or accidentally have them fall out of your purse? You can’t be sure that copies of your keys aren’t being made when they’re out of your sight – unless you take precautions to secure them in a safe place, preventing anyone with bad intentions from ever laying a hand – or eyes – on them.

It’s important that you treat your keys like any other object that you wouldn’t want anyone else to get their hands on, such as a credit card or your social security card number. All it takes is a couple clicks, photos being uploaded to a locksmith website, and a couple bucks, and someone else could have free access to your home.

When you’re out and about and your keys are not in use, make sure they are secured in a safe place where nobody can snag them, even for a couple seconds. If you normally store your keys in your purse, start securing them in a zippered pocket inside your purse where they won’t be seen.

If you normally leave your keys sitting on your desk at work, start locking them inside a desk drawer where they’ll be safe. Use a quick-release key ring when having your car serviced from now on, so the attendant will only be given the key to your car and not your entire key ring with the key to your home.

Although it’s easier than ever for people to make copies of your keys, the appropriate safety precautions can prevent it from happening. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you suspect that your house keys may have been compromised call SK Locksmith 832-777-7010 and we’ll come out and re-key your locks ensuring that you are secure.

Secure your garage with these common sense tips

The garage is a great addition to your home, but it can be a major security risk if you are not taking the right safety precautions. Do you know where the emergency release lever is on your garage door? If you don’t you can place yourself at-risk for theft by leaving the door open.

Most home burglaries occur on the first floor of the home, and many are made by accessing the home through an open garage door, or a side door leading into the garage. Just about anyone can break into a garage with the right know-how. Keeping your home safe is one of your top priorities. Here are some tips you need to follow for adequate garage security.

Cover the Windows – While it can be nice to have sunlight stream into your garage, an open window is an invitation for criminals. People can easily see into the garage to know what possessions you have inside. Always cover the windows to keep people from seeing in. Make sure the windows are always locked as this can help to deter a criminal.

Lock the Doors – The side door of your garage needs to be locked to prevent a burglar from getting into your home. Use additional locks on the top or bottom of the door for extra security.

Lock Your Car – Leaving the car in a closed garage can seem safe, but it isn’t hard for burglars to get into the garage and steal belongings from the car. You need to remove your valuable items from the car, and always lock it to keep your home safe. Remove the garage door opener from your car, or hide it well to prevent people from breaking the window and using the clicker to open the garage.

Use a Wireless Keypad – A great way to get into your garage is by installing a wireless keypad. Change the garage security code often to prevent theft. The code makes it easy for your family members to get into the garage, and makes it harder for a criminal to guess the code.

Motion Lighting – Most thieves will run away if lights suddenly turn on when they are trying to break into a garage. Motion lighting is a great way to scare them away, and give your home some additional protection.

What You Need To Know About Deadbolt Locks

Deadbolts are a behemoth in the home security industry and for good reason. No lock offers more security or performance than a deadbolt, particularly when put into use with a home security system.

Most people only opt for installation of a deadbolt on the entrance doors to their homes, since keeping unwanted people out is always a priority, and deadbolts do a good job of doing just that. Knowing the low-down on this top-notch type of lock for the home can go a long way towards helping you choose the right lock for your particular needs.

ANSI Deadbolt Grading System

While any deadbolt is generally considered an upgrade from a standard lock, deadbolts are available in three quality grades. These grades are assigned by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and generally are a good way to gauge the dependability of the lock for specific consumer applications.

ANSI grade 1 is the highest rated deadbolt under the ANSI guidelines. It is suitable for use in both commercial and residential buildings, and it provides the best protection against intruders. The middle-grade is

ANSI grade 2, which is for use in residential applications. Although not as durable and rugged as a grade 1 ANSI lock, it is a good option for most homes.

The lowest ANSI grade lock is a grade 3, which is just a basic, standard deadbolt for residential use. In general, grade 2 and grade 1 locks are the best options for homeowners. Most locksmiths do not recommend grade 3 installations.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Deadbolt

Other than the ANSI rating of the deadbolt selected, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind when you’re purchasing a deadbolt. The cylinder and plug that you choose should optimally be constructed from brass or steel if possible, since these metals are the strongest. Installing a strong lock puts another barrier between your home, family, and belongings, and the bad guys that you want to keep on the other side of the door.

You can make it even harder for criminals to get into the home by choosing a deadbolt with a six-pin key-ring configuration. But it isn’t just the material and quality of the deadbolt that you need to consider.

Professional installation by an experienced locksmith like SK Locksmith is important, too, since you have a lot riding on the integrity of your deadbolt’s installation. Always have a pro install your deadbolt, and you won’t need to second guess your own DIY installation. Call us today! 832-777-7010

Today’s Modern Locksmiths Use High Tech Tools

The Keymaker

Gone are the days of strictly grinding new keys.

Today’s locksmith has come a long way since the early days of the profession when skeleton keys were painstakingly hand-duplicated using rudimentary tools. Modern locksmiths have a wealth of high-tech tools at their disposal, including advanced equipment and software that allows them to cut keys in seconds, even high-tech keys that operate the ignition of cars from BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes.

Key Cutting Equipment

One of the most revered equipment options for the modern day locksmith is high-tech cutting machines, including the 3D Pro Xtreme, which is used to cut high-security keys, and the HPC Extreme Blitz, which is used for cutting both regular and high-security keys.

The 3D Pro Xtreme, for example, is designed for use in mobile applications, so when a customer needs a key cut right away, our mobile service can be headed their way in no time, machine in hand to cut a key for them and get them on their way. This type of laser-cutting machine decodes keys, including those high-security keys that have internal cuts, so it can easily cut keys for high-end autos. This machine can be used to cut residential keys and standard automotive keys too.

The HPC Extreme Blitz offers even more features for the contemporary locksmith. This machine works via “code cards” that are inserted into the machine. These cards tell the machine how to cut the key needed. This makes the process of key cutting much less complicated, and is ideal for mobile locksmiths like SK Locksmith that work out of their van.

Special Software

Many modern locksmiths also use a PC software in combination with codes from the automotive manufacturers along with the VIN number for a particular vehicle in order to cut a custom replacement key. The same process is used for programming cars remote controls.

On some newer model vehicles, high-security guidelines require that the manufacturer flash the car’s computer, and this will pair it with a new key using the locksmith’s software. When this is the case, the locksmith must have flashing software, and many new generation locksmiths do.

With technology rapidly changing, keeping up with the evolving world of locksmithing trends is the only way that SK Locksmith can serve the needs of their clientele. From ECU flashing to proximity keys and remote-head keys, being able to provide keys and other unlocking services for high-end autos and newer generation residential and commercials locks is a vital part of building SK Locksmith’s customer base and developing a reputation as a Houston locksmith on the cutting edge of technology. Call SK Locksmith anytime at: 832-777-7010

Below is a short video that shows a little bit about how the 3D Xtreme cuts a high security key, in this case a Honda key.

CCTV Systems For Homes and Business

A CCTV system can greatly improve your security in your home or business, and there are numerous benefits to using this type of security system. The most obvious benefit of CCTV is that it can allow you to see what’s going on around you, even from afar, since most CCTV systems can now be monitored from your smartphone, computer, or other device, even if you’re not on the premises.

CCTV Cameras

How CCTV Works

CCTV is an acronym that stands for closed circuit television. Most of today’s systems are wireless, although there are still some great wired systems around. Essentially, CCTV cameras watch over your property, relaying real-time images (that can also be recorded if desired) to a centralized location onto a CCTV monitor or other device of your choice.

Benefits of CCTV Systems

Since CCTV systems have seen a dramatic price decrease in the past decade, most homeowners and business owners can readily afford to install a system. CCTV is beneficial in a number of ways. You can always know what is going on whenever action occurs near a camera that is associated with your CCTV system.

The presence of these cameras in itself is a theft deterrent, but should a theft or other crime occur, you can capture evidence that can help to put the bad guy where he belongs. For insurance purposes, having any accident on your premises caught on camera can be beneficial for the claims process, especially in the face of any fraudulent claim.

For businesses, CCTV systems can lead to increased employee compliance to health and safety policies that are in place, since employees who know they’re being watched may be more inclined to comply.

Who Installs CCTV Systems?

Installing your CCTV system is a job that is best left to a professional who can determine the best angles to capture the activities you’re looking to document and monitor. SK Locksmith is a Commercial Locksmith serving Houston TX, we can install CCTV systems for residential and business clients.

Protect Your Home This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for sharing and goodwill toward fellow man, but the truth is that there is always an element in the underbelly of society that is looking to score big, even if it means breaking into your home and stealing the gifts that you have under your tree. Yes, the Grinch is alive and well, even in “good” neighborhoods this Christmas.

And even if he isn’t after your gifts, your expensive home electronics, jewelry, and other valuables are just as tempting to him. For this reason, it is important that you take precautions to protect your home during the holiday season (and the rest of the year, too.)

How can you keep the Grinch at bay? These tips will help point the way to a safer holiday.

• Avoid discussing the expensive gifts you just bought. Although it’s a sad commentary on the state of the world, it’s best to keep information about what you bought for others this Christmas to yourself. Sure, you may be inclined to mention to co-workers over lunch that you bought your husband that new iPad Air, but broadcasting it in public is an open invitation for would-be thieves to break in and steal it out in under you.

• Install a home security system. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to install a home security system. The cost of installing a system is much more affordable than ever before, thanks to advances in technology and expanded competition in the marketplace.

• Update your doors and window locks to foil burglars. Even if you don’t have a security system installed and don’t plan to get one, make sure the locks on your doors and windows are up to snuff. A locksmith can do a checkup on your locks and recommend upgrades to keep your home safe.

• Buy a safe. When the bad guy gets in, having your most expensive items locked up tight inside a safe is a good idea. Safes are relatively inexpensive, even for the toughest models, and purchasing one is a great way to enjoy peace of mind that your valuables will remain yours, even during the desperate holiday season.

• Avoid posting your travel plans online or discussing your plans in public. A growing trend involves thieves stalking Facebook and other social media sites to find out when you’re gone so that they can target your home. Don’t give them the option; don’t post your plans online.

Should You Trust a Lock or Deadbolt from Your Local Hardware Store?

Homeowners rarely think about the quality of what seems like the “simple” things in life, and this includes the locks that they put on their doors. Is it okay, as a homeowner, to trust the deadbolts and other locks that you can buy at your local hardware store, or neighborhood big box retailer, like Home Depot or Lowe’s?

Even though convention leans towards thinking that as long as a lock is new and properly installed, it should work, the fact is that locks found at your local hardware store are little more than door latches as far as neighborhood crooks are concerned—even if they are made by a quality brand.

Any locksmith worth his salt will warn you that mass-produced locks that you can find at any run-of-the-mill hardware store do not do a good job of keeping your family, your home, and your possessions, safe.

BurglarGiving Bad Guys the Keys to Your House

You’d never give a bad guy the key to your house, would you? Not intentionally, at least. The truth is, however, that if you are relying on the locks that you purchase at the big-box store, you may be doing just that.

These locks are called “keyed alike” locks for a reason: they use the same key. If there’s a shelf in your big-box store with twenty locks awaiting a new home, they all have one thing in common: they share the same key.

It is not a big stretch to have the same key profile in the production run be used on hundreds or even thousands of lower quality, easy-to-pick locks. It is a new scam (or maybe an old one, and the world is just catching on) for crooks to browse the lock section of a retailer for a period of time, purchasing the same locks as customers in the store.

The crook may even check out behind the consumer, and then follow them home to see where they live. It’s a simple matter to then use their key in your lock to rob you or harm you or your family. That’s scary.

Other Problems with Big-Box LocksDeadbolt Lock

This is not the sole problem with big-box locks, however. Locksmiths warn that most of the deadbolt locks in production today that are sold at your local hardware store do not have pick guards, which makes slipping a fine pick into the opening possible. From there, your door and your security can be breached in seconds. So-called “smart key” locks can also be easily compromised by even the least tech-savvy crooks.

Using a Locksmith

You should worry about the security of your home if you have a lock from a big-box store, but you don’t have to go unprotected. A professional residential locksmith can either rekey your lock to foil the bad guy or even install a high-quality lock that has a unique key profile that crooks will have a hard time foiling. The price you’ll pay for rekeying or for a new lock is small in comparison to the peace of mind you’ll receive in exchange.

Houston Emergency Locksmith Services are Only a Call Away

If you’ve never locked your keys inside your car, home, or business, you’re lucky. For the rest of us, there’s emergency locksmith services that can help us get back behind the wheel or through the door, keys in hand.

Locking one’s keys up in a vehicle, home, or office building is never a pleasant experience, although it can be one that you look back at and laugh about later, despite the fact that it leaves you feeling helpless and frustrated at the time.

With emergency locksmith services, at least it doesn’t have to be a big deal but can instead be just a minor nuisance. If your keys are inside your car or elsewhere and you’re outside, your first call should be to a Houston emergency locksmith service.

Help is a Call Away

Locked Out of the CarA young mom balancing a toddler on one hip and a grocery bag on the other drops her keys in the trunk while unloading groceries, forgetting to retrieve them before shutting the trunk. Luckily, Houston emergency locksmiths are literally just a phone call away, around the clock, 24/7/365. 832-777-7010

Despite the 100-degree Texas weather, that mom was able to get back on the road, getting herself and her child out of the heat, without the event becoming more than a minor hiccup in a busy day.

High-Tech Tools

A student driving a new Prius accidentally locks herself out of her car and is going to be late for class if she doesn’t get help soon. Locksmiths are trained to deal with every imaginable lockout, and are equipped with state-of-the-art tools that allow them to get into your locked vehicle, unlock it, and get you back on the road, all without damaging your auto or leaving behind any evidence that they’ve been there.

This includes newer vehicles that are trickier to unlock. Getting in and out of a sticky situation is easiest when you call on the services of a locksmith with the right tools in hand to get you moving again, fast.

Locked Out of Your Home or Business?

While being locked out of a car is frustrating enough, if you’re locked out of your home or business, it can be even worse. Perhaps you’ve lost your keys and arrive home to find that you can’t get in your front door.

Or maybe you come home to find your front door has been kicked down, your home burglarized, and the lock irreparable. In both these situations, a Houston emergency locksmith can be dispatched to your location within minutes to take care of the problem fast.